Tower clears last legal obstacles

By Anne Gibson

An entertainment business and a big city law firm have settled legal objections against the monster 67-level Elliott Tower rising near them in Auckland.

Negotiations between tower opponents SkyCity and DLA Phillips Fox and representatives of developer Dae Ju Housing of Korea resulted in an agreement being reached, according to Marcus Beveridge, the developer's lawyer.

The tower, planned to rise almost as high as Sky Tower, can go ahead on the vacant Royal International Hotel site despite a less robust economy than when it was mooted two years ago.

The $450 million tower will be about three times higher than surrounding buildings and is planned for the Victoria St/Albert St/Elliott St site, now used for carparking and a reverse bungy jump business.

Environment Court hearings were scheduled to begin today but Mr Beveridge said all matters were resolved and the hearings cancelled.

"An amicable settlement has been reached," he said.

Bryce Morrin, SkyCity's general manager of capital projects, confirmed the appeal was withdrawn.

SkyCity's appeal cited a threat to telecommunication signals on the top of the Sky Tower being blocked by Elliott Tower.

DLA Phillips Fox, which occupies a neighbouring tower, was concerned about the disruption to its business from traffic movements during the long building process, expected to draw up to 500 workers to the site at any one time.

SkyCity is now understood to have examined alternatives to ensure uninterrupted transmission and could move equipment further up its antennae to give unbroken broadcasting.

Vital signals were under threat, SkyCity said, because its tower provides communication services for a third of New Zealand, including significant emergency services.

The tower hosts more than 400 licensed services and radio communications facilities, two television stations, 22 FM radio stations, land and maritime mobile communications and broadband wireless services.

Mr Beveridge said Dae Ju planned to start building the 259-unit tower next year, despite the downturn. Hopes the giant would be up before 2011 Rugby World Cup had been dashed by the long approval process.

The tower will take four to five years to build, giving a new expected completion around about 2013.

The high rise was designed by architect Gordon Moller and Multiplex Constructions (NZ), headed by Dan Ashby, is the preferred builder.

The tower proposal could bring:

* 9ha of indoor area.
* 810 apartment occupants.
* 550 retail workers.
* 54 levels of apartments.
* 6 levels of carparking.
* 4 levels of trees or sky gardens.
* 3 levels of shopping.

- NZ Herald

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